If there is one thing that history has taught us, it's that those who finish second are destined to be forgotten. Unfortunately for Lenovo, it's a sentiment that they can probably relate to now, given that for all their efforts on its super thin 'Kodachi' notebook, Apple's MacBook Air is likely to take all the credit for being the first 'super thin' notebook, all thanks to its successful marketing machinery and most importantly, an earlier launch date.
Those in the know (or at least a passing interest in upcoming ultra-portables) will have heard of the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (aka Kodachi) and its long and eventful gestation. A slim notebook that almost matches that of the Air, but with slightly more functions and features, this new ThinkPad is aimed squarely at its core group of users - executives of the well-heeled variety.
As the first ThinkPad to bear the Lenovo logo, the X300 spent one and a half long years in development and was originally conceived as a 10-inch notebook, though things didn't quite work out when the engineering team started to put parts together. While it could be done, the consensus by the Lenovo team then was that a 13.3-inch screen was better for watching movies and as such, prototypes were then manufactured accordingly. Despite that, one characteristic that stayed unchanged was the portability of the X300. When Apple revealed the Air at MacWorld 2008, the Lenovo team had a brief scare initially, though a quick test assured them that the X300 prototype could easily pass the same envelope test.
Our previous review of the MacBook Air showed that the Air, despite its slim form factor and gorgeous appeal, lacked features that would have made it the product of choice for those hankering for a ultra-portable. So naturally, our eyes turned to the X300, which seemed to have covered all the bases that the Air missed out on, like a ultra-light DVD drive and having more than the Air's single, measly USB port. The X300 also has more connectivity options compared to the Air in the form of a LAN port with native WiMax available in the later part of 2008 and HSDPA support via USB dongle.